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Published April 30, 2018

Was Anyone else out there a fan of Xmarks? It is was a wonderfully simple tool that allowed you to keep your bookmarks in sync between browsers and devices. And the best part – it was free to use!

Lo and behold, March 30th 2018 they drop this bombshell:

Xmarks update

On May 1, 2018, we will be shutting down Xmarks. Your account will remain active until then, including the syncing of your bookmarks. After that date, your bookmarks should remain in any previously accessed browser, but they will no longer sync and your account will be deactivated.

Such a shame.

As a long time user of Xmarks I scrambled to find a suitable replacement to no avail, so I made one myself!
syncmarx logo
Download Alpha for Firefox:
 
Download Alpha for Google Chrome:

(Funnily enough “syncmarks” was taken, Although I think the ‘X’ is a nice homage to Xmarks)

Syncmarx leverages existing cloud file hosting services to make this entire process “free” (currently limited to Dropbox). You authenticate with the cloud file host, and your bookmark data is saved to a file. As bookmarks are created and deleted, your bookmark tree is compared against the most recently uploaded file on a schedule that you specify. Finally, sync timestamps are compared to see if the data should be merged or overwritten.

So my fellow ex-Xmarks users please give it a try! I can certainly use some testers, since I had to push this out quickly before Xmarks kicked the bucket. Hopefully this fits the use case for some of you like me who are looking for a simple bookmark solution (primarily just keeping Chrome and Firefox bookmarks in sync automatically). Also note that this add-on is built using the Web Extension API, so as more browsers become compliant it may be possible to expand further.

Unfortunately this API does not support things like tags, keywords, and descriptions, etc. Personally I don’t use those anyway, but I do hope it fills in the gaps for those seeking simplicity!

Further ramblings-

Perhaps Xmarks was doomed after having been purchased by LastPass in 2010, who knows. These days if a software product doesn’t generate revenue its days are pretty much numbered.

In any case I loved Xmarks, and with only a month to find an alternative I struggled to find a replacement with the following criteria:

  1. Free to use
  2. Unlimited bookmark storage
  3. Runs automatically
  4. Uses native browser bookmarks
  5. Support for Firefox and Chrome

No I do not want to use a special interface for my bookmarks. No I do not want a suite of other tools. I just want to see the same bookmarks menu and toolbar in Google Chrome as I do in Firefox.

So I made my own extension. I created syncmarx to do the bare minimum I need it to do, and that’s to provide automatic native bookmark synchronization for free between Firefox and Chrome.

Syncmarx is just in alpha now, so I could certainly use some testers to help me give it a whirl! If people like it enough perhaps I’ll eventually make a mobile app for viewing bookmarks on the go 🙂

Learn more by checking out the syncmarx homepage below:

https://syncmarx.mcleodgaming.com/

 

 

15 Comments

  1. Ascar Ascar

    Greg,

    I accidentally created 2 profiles. I need to get rid of one. How do I do that? I may get confused what profile is what and destroy my bookmarks.

    • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

      You can delete the profile from your syncmarx folder in Dropbox. Just make sure you select a different profile within the extension first so it doesn’t get re-created. I also recommend you take an occasional backup of your existing bookmarks while the extension is in alpha state just be safe.

  2. Jack Jack

    Unfortunately, while I had hoped this would fit the bill, I had to go back to manual bookmark management after a month with this extension. There were 2 times that my bookmarks totally disappeared and the blank folders synced across browsers and machines, forcing me to restore from backup. I’ll be keeping an eye on this in hopes it evolves into something both great, and profitable for you. For me, I just can’t take the risk at this time.

    • Jack Jack

      Oops, typo. I meant a week, not month.

    • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

      Sorry to hear that, it will be some time before Syncmarx will be ready for the jump from from alpha to beta. I’ll certainly keep working to iron out these issues, as I use this extension myself on a daily basis. Thanks for at least giving it a try!

    • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

      Just a heads up that I have since fixed the majority of “bookmark disappearance” issues in the latest version 0.3.0!

  3. Jeso Jeso

    Thank you so much for creating this extension, love that I’m able use profiles. Keep up the good work.

  4. Sullivan Beck Sullivan Beck

    I’m so pleased you wrote this! I have been looking for something to replace Xmarks since before it went away, and it was frustrating that there was nothing out there that fit my needs. I tried several, but, after seeing how a company (actually two companies) were able to arbitrarily throw xmarks bookmarks away, I really wanted something where the bookmarks were hosted on something I controlled. Having them on dropbox is a great first step!

    Have you got the source somewhere public (gitHub?) where people can contribute? I’d love to see this somewhere where I could potentially help out. I’d especially be interested in seeing if I could get the bookmarks stored on something self-hosted (probably Nextcloud). Also, having it on gitHub would relieve one concern I have with any solution… namely that it might disappear at any time like Xmarks did.

    • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

      Happy to be of service! The source code is not published as of yet, but it is certainly not off the table. For the time being I am just focused on getting it past the alpha state since I don’t think it’s quite ready to have too many cooks. I can assure you though that I have no plans to discontinue this extension any time soon since I use it myself every day.

  5. phat. phat.

    HI Greg,

    I am trying to set up the sync for firefox, but I cant get it to work at all I keep getting “Failed to pull bookmark data”.

    This is my setup.
    On chrome
    1.) Created Profile on chrome, (it seems like it works although sometimes doesn’t synce)
    2.) Select the profile to use.
    3.) As I already had bookmarks I force push initially. and it worked.

    On firefox.
    1.) Install plugin
    2.) select profile
    3.) force pull and i get the message “Failed to pull bookmark data”.

    any ideas.

    • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

      Thanks for the report, there are a small subset of users reporting the same issue. I’ve made an update (0.3.1) to improve error messaging today so hopefully we’ll get a clearer description.

  6. Kowalski Kowalski

    Hi Greg,

    I’m trying to use syncmarx for some days now. Your idea is pretty much what I’m looking for after de retirement of Xmarks. I don’t want all those crap bloatware that other “famous” alternatives push down our throat.

    But I must say that it’s not 100% yet. I was able to install it in Chrome and the first pull, to send all my bookmarks, was fine. But after that, no sync is running. Neither in Chrome nor in Firefox. I had hope that v0.3.0 would solve that, but no luck yet.

    Let me know if you need any other information to debug what could be wrong . I’ll be glad to help you.

    • Kowalski Kowalski

      Seems that “Force Push” is working, but not “Force Pull” or sync

      • Greg McLeod Greg McLeod

        Ok, this sounds consistent with a small portion of users. I pushed v0.3.1 today to improve error messaging a bit to help debug

  7. Ramone Ramone

    For an Alpha release, at least for me it has been stable and does everything you said it will do. I agree with @Ascar that it needs a delete function in the UI – Nice job for your first extension! Looking forward to beta and GA

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